Quest To Kill A Demon: Terror of Shoal-Ridge

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Tybalt the Grey, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Tybalt the Grey

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    #1 Tybalt the Grey, Jan 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
    “Were we brave men we would never want. But the brave must tread the frightful unknown, the brave accept that death is but a guide, a calming voice in the storm. So it is told to us by the Great Emissary to go in peace and give mercy freely, for we are all strangers in the night. We are all finding our way home.”
    ~ Father Belthias, Ethics of Cosmogony vol. 3, Tychan Articles


    Boots sunk through snow swallowed by the chilled maws imprinted with every step. Shattering the frigid peaks of the wintery dunes shaping along the river’s edge, this was the passage many from Shoal-Ridge called the Old Father’s Pass. By following the largest vein of the many rivers splintering from Crobbear Lake in the North Western territories one could walk right through the prominent fishing town. It was said that their ancestors from the east of Epressa made this trek many ages ago thus the name. More importantly for Kalder Strowman and his caravan of sellswords it was the safest passage.

    Whipping winds and snowfall obscured the visions of treelines. Only faint lights seemingly high on a hill or elevation could truly point them in a direction; unfortunately, the young Strowman had educated those new to these parts not to focus solely on the lights. The snowfall had a way of bending them and leading travelers astray, and in this unforeseen cold it would be most tragic to be lost. As if to emphasize the point cold winds slammed against the caravan causing horses to stall in motion and men lean back with arms held up to bar the chafing winds.

    It was an unnatural storm or so it seemed as the young man only the age of fifteen years had claimed that such cold would only come traveling nearer to the spine. At this time warmer winds of the valleys tempered the chill.

    Tybalt was a larger man standing taller than most and wrapped heavily. Padded leathers made to insulate were worn in crude fashion over the plate of his armor that would no doubt have frozen him in place. His face was wrapped and covered allowing only the sterling blue of his eyes to strike out. As a member of the Holy Order, servant of Tychan, the Paladin was not adverse to the supernatural. In many ways it was his specialty to suss out any strange goings. For the Half-Orc he could practically smell it in the air. Something was odd with the winds and since their three day trek since entering the lands of Epressa the snowfall did not stop.

    These lands looked to be tundra but it couldn’t be so as those lands were further north and west of this Lake and valley. Tybalt would be honest with himself when admitting he’d not the faintest knowledge of what could be causing this. Magic? A curse? If that was the only estimate then the culprit of this malediction could be truly anything.

    In time through persistence the caravan would finally break the walls of the storm and meet low at the foot of a frosted hill. Kalder and his two guards marched high to scout village, but the rise of the boys hope could be seen collapse with his knees to the wintery earth. It was a wave of tragedy that trembled down the hill with an innocent cry of shock. Winds carried faint and ominous howl billowing down the valley as the Caravan slowly tread to the top only to see solemn town aglow in lantern light be barred by trees on the path with hanging bodies. The dead were still and fixed bitten black by the frost leaving a haunting vision to any and all visitors.

    [​IMG]

    Giving the boy his moment the caravan gathered their wits and grouped about the three wagons. Tybalt marched across the momentary camp observing all present, a head count of fifteen some men not including Kalder and his two guards Garth and Tomlin. Some of the sellswords seemed shaken. The prospect of gold and coin being a distant concern as the travel wore on them. Broken by the cold the vision the hangman’s grove before the gates of Shoal-Ridge was more than some could stomach. But to turn back was to return to the cold and the storm, this was not an option as they ran their hands over and over themselves to maintain warmth in their shivers. Others were not so frightened. If anything the horrifying sight was vindicating for their goals and this this Tybalt took note of. It was important to know those of stern resolve.

    Cowards ever impatient show their face quickly as one human of pale complexion emerged from a conspiring cloister demanding, “Where is the boy? We were promised further payment on arrival.” This gave the Half-Orc a momentary pause. He shouldn’t be angered, he shouldn’t feel this antagonism. Alas biting his tongue he accepted his indignant thoughts and answered roughly, “It is good to see men so willing to relieve others of their tragedy. Should we expect you to march first and lead the way?” His voice was thick and resonant. At first the man’s face was appalled but seeing Tybalt approach, noticing his size, then hearing what he suggested immediately the coward balked. “I wouldn’t presume good sir… just I wouldn’t want a promise forgotten …” A single hand large and imposing wraps about the smaller man’s shoulder as the Paladin asserts, “Then let it be.”

    Tensions broke as a young man with fiery hair cut short stepped out from the largest wagon. His eyes were filled with a mission only shimmering with the fright of visions that had recently befell them. Being flanked by his trusted men: two brutish men with braids, leather, and steel capped helms; Kalder approached the group letting his dark cloak wrap tight about his frame. “Those bodies were not there when I left… and no one knew that I was leaving. Nobody other than my father.” He announced.“I will send ten of you with Garth who will escort you through the front gates. You are to be traders from the west traveling to Belgrath. Five of you will come with me as we follow the Old Father’s Pass into the docks where we can slip in unnoticed through dock walls…”

    Taking a deep breath reality had finally sunk into the boys gut as he trembled to ask, “Any questions?” He sincerely hoped for someone to speak to hold off the moment. Deep in his heart he didn’t want to press forward. Never had the prospect of home frightened him so much, but his mind kept fixating on that tartan scarf hanging from one of the hanging bodies. He couldn’t tell the features but he knew the baker’s son Oswin had always worn one. They were friends right? The horror of the thought stopped him from remembering too much for hesitance of the tears that wished to spring freely from his eyes.
     
  2. Draedamyr

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    Draedamyr Mage Hunter

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    The snowfall would have covered all of their tracks by now. Light on his feet, Draedamyr had left barely a mark on the snow compared to the heavy wagons and armoured men. One of the humans had remarked that as an elf, he should have been scouting ahead. Draedamyr hadn't been of a mind to reply to the stupid comment.

    He had lived in cities his entire life. Born in a great elven one. The last human to have laid eyes upon it buried centuries ago. Probably ten generations of the prolific humans had come since and the forests had long since reclaimed those ruins. His feet still remembered the road, but what would be left there but heartache?

    Draedamyr was no ranger of the wilds. He was a duelist and a mage hunter. He felt the song carried on the winds of the magic, weaving through the storm. Yet when his gaze fell upon the sight ahead he did not fear the otherworldly; the worst acts had always been carried out by very real people.

    "I would go through the docks," he suggested to the boy. There would be time to ask about the layout of the town on the journey.

    Tybalt the Grey
     
  3. Neremyn Virvyre

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    The cold had never suited him, even one as eldritch as this. Strange and gripping, he felt the very marrow of his bones congeal beneath the windy binding. A quick romp through Sheketh, to find himself stuck on the southern coast of Whithereach; it was enough to teach him the value of thick fur and thick skin.

    A path cut across Crobhear lake had hardly been the sort to have him prepare for such gusts and snowy drifts, though he was persistently adorned in a motley of linens, wood armor, and a wolf fur fixed around his shoulders. Once regaling the mounds of white as breathtaking and mystical, he suddenly found himself slung deep in the folds of buyers remorse. A chance meeting between Elbion and the Falwoods, and now he was sure to die of hypothermia.

    The path of the wagons and caravans was overtaken by strong winds and an omnipresent wall of snow and gales, erasing any line of sight one might have if they turned around and tried to walk home. But the thought crossed his mind to try; he could feel the taint of something otherworldly, lurking behind the strung up graveyard of unfortunate souls.

    Lifting his hands to his mouth, obscuring a thick beard of black hair and captured snowflakes, Ere exhaled steam and warmth into his finger tips.


    “The Old Father's pass sounds intriguing. I am dying to see what else this land has to offer…” Literally dying. Stepping forward and beyond the grouping of men who shared his concerns, despite an obvious inability in expressing it, Ere set himself apart from them. “If that is amenable.”
     
  4. Thronebreaker

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    Thronebreaker Godfrey Urahil

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    A bay-coated warhorse stamped its ironshod hoof and snorted, steam rising from its nostrils. The knight atop it sat easy in the saddle. He wore all the trappings of his station, from the mail and coat of plates to the white tabard emblazoned with a griffin in flight. His greathelm hung from the saddlehorn, while his shield hung from a shoulder strap and his arming sword from his hip. Swaddled in a great, red cloak, the knight urged his mount forward with the light tap of his spurs.

    Godfrey Urahil had come a long way, but the word of a Dreadlord was not one to be taken lightly. Especially not when it carried news of Otherkind.

    He had left Selene behind in Vel Anir. He could not say what had possessed him to come so far, but the Dreadlord have spoken of a terror which few men could face. Godfrey needed to know if he stood among their number, if in the face of a nightmare his courage would not melt away.

    "Zounds, but it's cold," he chortled helpfully.
     
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  5. Korhbin Wolfgang

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    Korhbin Wolfgang Eat a potato once a day, part of his "royal diet"

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    Korhbin pushed through the crowd, as he was in the far back. "I might as well tag along sir." He'd say not being too nervous, after all he had to deal with some sort of issues back in his home land. He had experience in a few tid bit from his tavels as well.

    Not sayinh much more he would wait for the next responses, if there were any. While he stood there in his leather armor, not bothered by the cold as much at the others. It was more of a comfort to him.

    Though the bodies, he did not what to deal with in the very least. The thought of burning them or rolling them into the grave gave him the stomach turns and a rather unpleasant feelings in the back of his neck. Better to be further from them then anywhere else.
     
  6. Tybalt the Grey

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    #6 Tybalt the Grey, Jan 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
    The first two to volunteer their aid to the boy were elves, it was something that gave the group of primarily humans a not subtle ill expression. But they were not vocal in their disapproval until after Kalder praised, “It would be an honor…” Cut off by an open scoff a black bearded man caustically spat upon the frozen earth, “Yeah sure, what do a couple of dagger ears know of honor?” This received a few bits of laughter, but most of the men remained silent at that open disrespect. Both Garth and Tomlin looked to eachother with a curious gaze as Garth openly chided, “Then you can hold up the back of the wagons good sir. Clearly we need an honorable man to see us through the gates.”

    Tomlin squeezed Kalder’s shoulder as he motioned to address the Godfrey and Korhbin. “Go on Kalder…” He insisted to the boy who stood tall as he could and cleared his throat. “Again it would be an honor to have you four brave men as my entourage.” The fiery haired son of a Guard Captain spoke boldly. Making sure to step forward and make eye contact with each man as a sign of respect.

    Tybalt had remained mostly silent. The giant of a man kept his distance and wasn’t much for conservation but instead kept watch. Every night when they would camp Tybalt was both the first and last person to keep guard. Few argued his insistence similarly as men whispered who would be next to volunteer the leather and fur bound Paladin approached. “By my oath we will put an end to this nightmare.” Tybalt assured giving the young boy a bit of a startle to hear the deep voice address him. Looking up to meet the Half-Orc eye to eye Kalder stammered, “Th-thank you, good sir.”

    With that Garth gave Tomlin another sigh and patted his golden haired friend on the shoulder saying, “Take care of the boy and I will see you on the other side.” With a smile Tomlin gave a false nudge to Garth’s side joking, “Aye I’ll take care of the little man, and I’ll share a drink with ya later.” Both nodding like a pair of brothers it was apparent to all they were a close pair. But with that Garth gave a sharp whistle catching the attention of the crowd of men as Tomlin pressed Kalder by the shoulder and waved the other five towards main wagon.

    “You are Kalder’s chosen. I was tasked by his father the Guard Captain here at Shoal-ridge to see him safe, and it is now your responsibility to help us investigate this curse. The whole of this town is not willing to cower but we are trapped by the shadows that plague our streets.” Tomlin spoke giving the frost covered braids of his beard a shake. But trepidation took his voice as he addressed the source of this fishing town’s distress, “These Mother’s Chosen… they look like men, yet they are nothing of the sort. I’ve watched them come to the lake at night and walk bare into the frozen waters. Their eyes hold no color. Only an inky black on whites, their gaze will still your wits.”

    Lifting a mead filled skin from his furs the weary Guard popped the latch with his thumb and took a sharp drag. Casually pressing the container to Kalder’s chest the boy quickly took a drink, and then as Tomlin continued passed the skin to the pair of elves, “If you have any questions ask now. Once we make it through the Docks we are heading straight to the Barracks to find Baird, the boy’s father. With that we are going to take to the Drowned Widow where we will meet with Garth and prepare to take the Great Hall where the Elder’s sit and force them to give us answers.”
     
  7. Draedamyr

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    Draedamyr didn't deign reply to the accusation. What he also did not do, was take his gaze from the man who had made it until he was dismissed by Garth. After the storm he wasn't in the mood for insults. Nor was he one to draw his sword unnecessarily.

    His thumb did press on his crossguard to lift the blade a fraction. He didn't want to go to draw and find out some moisture had frozen and stuck the blade.

    Draedamyr took the offered skin with his left hand and took a swig before passing it to Neremyn Virvyre.

    "Do you mean 'still your wits' literally? Should we avert our eyes?" It was always better to be entirely clear about such things.
     
  8. Thronebreaker

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    Thronebreaker Godfrey Urahil

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    Godfrey chuckled in good humor at the somber air of his companions, rank racism of the townspeople, and the terrifying imagery of which Tomlin spoke.

    One of the elves, the one who treated his sword like a lover - Draedamyr, was it? - spoke first, asking a most sensible question. A question Godfrey had not thought, for he had not oft encountered faye or ensorceled creatures.

    No, the knight's eyes rather chose to fall upon the mead skin making its way among the group. He licked chapped lips and motioned for the elf, Nereman. Neremyn? The one with the tangled hair and o'er fondness for creatures of the wild to quaff quickly and pass the skin along.
     
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  9. Neremyn Virvyre

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    Ere took the skin in hand with some scale of trepidation. He was not one for taking things from strangers but these were strange times and required some sense of re-calibration. If a brotherhood was to be formed and he was to be a member, falling in line was but a single component of it.

    Inspecting the skin with a keen eye, he internally remarked on the quality of the tanning and the delicate stitching. It was elegant for coming from a man so pronounced, giving indication that it was purchased and not handmade. Flicking the cork, tied to the wide neck with a bit of sinew, Ere took a sip and managed to only dribble a little. As he lowered it and re-corked the mead skin, he nodded and ran his free hand through the mead-laced tones of grey and black beard.

    "I kind of like the sound of dagger ears...it makes us sound fierce." He turned and tossed the flagon to the man with the 'gimme' eyes, crossing his arms over his chest. "Though I do suppose it wasn't literal...or applicable." He uttered with some confidence, diverting emerald eyes to the much older and arguably uglier Elf. "Not a single part of me needs stilling...enjoyable as the taste of honey is."

    It was clear to him that he was cut from a different cloth than the Elf swordsman. Time would tell whether they got along. Ere wasn't a betting man but he gave it poor odds, all the same.
     
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  10. Korhbin Wolfgang

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    Korhbin Wolfgang Eat a potato once a day, part of his "royal diet"

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    “You guys are going to make this party interesting.” Korhbin tells the elves taking a drink from a bottle of ale. “Not that I have the slightest idea why they’re so against you two. You’re just... you.” He’d mumble yawning some.

    It reminded him of his old home, he hated it, “If someone says something bad against you guys I might just end up punching them upside the head.” He’d tell them with a smirk. Pierce would be furious but it would’ve been worth it. He’d wander off a little looking around the area at all the people with hisnhand hidden under his cloak.
     
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  11. Draedamyr

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    Draedamyr Mage Hunter

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    Draedamyr fixed Neremyn Virvyre with a blank stare for an uncomfortably long stare. One eyebrow arched just a fraction before he turned to Korhbin Wolfgang.

    "I wouldn't waste your time," he replied. If anyone managed to reach a suitably egregious insult then he would deal with it personally. Losing a finger in a duel was a good reminder to treat others with more respect.

    He cast one more sideways glance towards the other elf before setting off. Perhaps the forest dweller was making a joke at the expense of the humans and Draedamyr hadn't quite figured it out yet. Perhaps he was just fucking weird.

    As far as he could tell what this land had to offer them was more unnaturally frigid weather and a frozen lake. At this point he was willing to fight someone who had made a pact with a demon just to get some shelter in the town. As the group split apart he had a strange suspicion that they might not see the other half of the party again.
     

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